ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan addressing the joint session of Parliament said that the Indian decision to revoke Kashmir special status will affect the entire world.
“When I spoke to Narendra Modi he expressed his reservations. I told him that when in 2014 the Army Public School tragedy took place all political parties came on the same page and signed the National Action Plan. After this, we tried to start a dialogue with them and realised that they were not interested.”
“Then Pulwama happened and we tried to make them understand that Pakistan had no role in this. But there were elections and they created war hysteria in the country to create an anti-Pakistani sentiment and win the elections,” Khan added.
The premier said that during the SCO Summit in Bishkek he had realised that India had no intention of talks with Pakistan.
“This session is not only important for the Kashmiri people and the Pakistani people, but it will also have repercussions around the world. That is why I request all to listen carefully,” he began.
“When we took up government (of Pakistan), our main priority was to address poverty in our country. We reached out to all our neighbours because without having a semblance of normalcy in ties, we cannot attain stability and alleviate poverty.
“All my trips to neighbouring countries were meant for this purpose. I visited Afghanistan and asked them that we work to address our past differences. I talked to India, telling them if you take one step towards us, we will come two steps towards you. I went to Iran [with similar aims] and I visited America.
“When I first reached out to India, they expressed concerns that there were militant outfits operating from Pakistan. I told [Narendra] Modi that after the grave and painful tragedy of the Army Public School massacre, all our political parties had resolved to never let the territory of Pakistan be used for terrorist activities. But I got the feeling that the Indian side was not serious about talks. When we went to Bishkek, my suspicions regarding their unwillingness to speak was strengthened.”
“I soon realised that India was not interested in talking to us,” the premier told the parliament. “They took our overtures for peace as weakness, so we stopped extending offers to hold talks.
“Then Pulwama happened. Thank God our air force responded in the way it did. We shot down their pilot but returned him immediately to send the message that we did not want war. We resolved that we would not move forward on talks over Kashmir till after the [Indian] elections. The elections happened.
“What happened yesterday has only confirmed my suspicion [about India’s unwillingness to talk]. This is not a decision they [the BJP] have taken out of the blue. It was part of their election manifesto all along. It is, in fact, ingrained in their ideology that puts Hindus above all other religions and seeks to establish a state that represses all other religious groups.”
The joint session of upper and lower houses was summoned by President Arif Alvi yesterday to decide Pakistan’s future course of action in the wake of India’s decision to strip occupied Kashmir of its special status under Article 370. But the session was disrupted soon after beginning by protest from opposition lawmakers who pointed out that the resolution, moved by Federal Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Azam Khan Swati condemning India’s “illegal actions” in occupied Kashmir, did not specifically mention Article 370 of the Indian constitution.